Mystery Workers


This lesson printed from:

Posted February 18, 2004

Standard: 1

Grades: K-2, 3-5

Author: Council for Economic Education Technology Staff

Posted: February 18, 2004

Updated: September 25, 2007


In this lesson students review the concepts of goods, services, and producers using the Internet to locate examples of each in a teacher's classroom. They learn about the three kinds of resources necessary to produce goods and provide services locating examples from a picture tour of the Crayola Factory. Through interviews they learn about the work of the people in their families and draw conclusions from their findings. Finally, they examine a picture of a farmer working in a field to identify examples of natural, human, and capital resources.


Goods, Natural Resources, Producers, Services


  • Identify producers as workers who produce goods and provide services for consumers.
  • Identify the productive resources producers use.
  • Define the three kinds of productive resources as natural resources, human resources, and capital resources.
  • Provide examples of each type of productive resource.


detectiveThis lesson is designed to review the concepts of goods, services, and producers that were introduced in the lesson, Mystery Workers from Master Curriculum Guide in Economics--Teaching Strategies K-2 . It then extends the lesson by teaching students about the productive resources producers use to produce goods and provide services.

Productive resources are divided into three categories: natural, human, and capital. Natural resources, also collectively called 'land,' are 'gifts from nature' that have not been altered by human hands. Human resources, also called labor, represent the quantity and quality of human effort directed toward production. Capital resources are goods made by people and used to produce other goods and services.


Part 1
goodsReview with students the definition of goods. Tell them that a good is an object that can satisfy people's wants. Ask students for examples of goods that might be used in a classroom. (book, chalk, eraser, pencil, paper, desk, chair)

Direct students to the Mrs. Perkins website.

Instruct students to look at the pictures of Mrs. Perkins classroom and students. Ask them to look for examples of goods. (This site changes from time to time so examples will vary.) In this matching classroom goods activity, tell students to match each good that they might find in a classroom with its description. Tell the students to drag each good to the correct description.

Review the answers.

Direct students to look at the pictures of goods displayed on the screen in the following interactive activity. Tell them to drag the good to the correct riddle.

Review the answers. [scissors, hose, crayons, hose, book, apples]

Part 2

videoReview the concept of services. Tell students that a service is an activity or action that satisfies people's wants. Ask students what service each of the following workers provides:

School bus driver [transportation]
School cafeteria workers [preparation of lunch]
Teacher [education]
School nurse [medical help]
School custodian [cleans the school]

Direct students to Community Club website.

Divide students into groups and assign each group one of the following workers:

  • mayor
  • librarian
  • firefighter
  • pediatrician
  • police officer
  • pizza maker
  • veterinarian

Instruct students to print a copy of Workers in the Community. Ask the students in each group to find out what service their worker provides and record the information on the worksheet.

Have groups share their findings.

Part 3

Tell students that workers who provide goods and services are called producers. Instruct them to match each of the producers with the good or service they provide by dragging the picture of the good or service next to the name of the producer in the matching producer activity.

Instruct students to print a copy of Activity 2. Ask them students to interview one adult using the questions on Activity 2. Have students record their answers on the activity sheet. Have them students share their interviews with the class.

Make a chart similar to the one below. Ask students to provide examples of workers who produce goods and those who provide services. Record answers in the chart.

Producers of Goods

Producers of Services


Help students draw some conclusions from the interviews. One conclusion might be that most of the workers in their community provide a service.

Part 4

Tell students that producers use resources to make goods or provide services. There are three types of resources. These are natural, human, and capital.

Explain that natural resources are gifts of nature that are untouched by human hands; they can be used to produce goods we want. Ask students for examples of natural resources. [sunlight, tree, land, coal, oil, water]

Explain that human resources, also called labor, are the people who do the work. Ask students to identify some human resources in the school. [teacher, librarian, principal, secretary, custodian, cafeteria worker]

Define capital resources as goods made by people and used to make other goods or to provide services. Tell students that a hammer is a capital resource. Ask them to provide other examples of capital resources they use in the classroom each day. [pencils, scissors, table, chair]

Tell students to look at the picture of the construction site. Ask them to click on a natural resource in the treespicture. Then, they should click on a capital resource. Finally, ask them to click on a human resource.

Direct students to the Crayola Factory .

Assign the students to work in pairs, locating examples of natural, human, and capital resources. Remind them that natural resources are 'gifts of nature' that have not been changed by people. Point out that it is very hard to find examples of natural resources and you could only find one. Instruct students to print a copy of 'Resource Hunt' and record their answers.

Review student answers.

  • Natural: water used as coolant
  • Human: workers who run the machines
  • Capital: any of the machines used such as labeling, molding, and mixing machines


Direct students to look at the picture on the attached 'Farm Resources' worksheet. Instruct them to print a copy of the worksheet and study the picture to find information needed to complete the activity.

[Answers for Farm Resources: natural: farm land, human: farm worker, capital: tractor]


Use the following discussion questions to review the key points of the lesson:

  1. What is a good?
    [An object that satisfies a person's want] Give an example.
  2. What is a service?
    [An activity or action that satisfies a person's wants] Give an example.
  3. What is a producer?
    [Someone who makes a good or provides a service to satisfy wants]
  4. What do producers use to make their goods or to provide services?
  5. What is a natural resource?
    [gifts of nature]
  6. What is an example of a natural resource?
    [water, land, tree]
  7. What are human resources?
    [people who do the physical and mental work]
  8. What is an example of a human resource?
    [teacher, truck driver, gardener, pilot]
  9. What are capital resources?
    [Man-made goods used to produce a good or provide a service.]
  10. What is an example of a capital resource?
    [tools, factories, machines]


Read the story Roxaboxen written by Alice McLerran, illustrated by Barbara Cooney Published by HarperCollins (April 22, 1991). Ask students to create their own name for a community and have each one think of a good or a service he or she could provide to community members.